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christian formation, a new ministry of grace seattle

August 23, 2011

This fall, Grace Seattle will introduce Christian Formation, a new ministry that will replace Grace University. I don’t think this new addition will be much of a surprise because in the last couple of years our church community has been experiencing a change in mindset regarding educational ministries. What is this mindset? Education is important but it is a means and not an end. In other words, Christian education cannot simply be about learning new and helpful things; it’s about becoming people who live faithful lives in every area of life they occupy.

Christian Formation will be the ministry that seeks to cultivate faithful Christian living by the transformation of the whole person, in every area of life, into the image of Christ. Practically speaking, we will still offer many of the same classes – studies on books of the Bible, discussions on parenting, evangelism (in fact, we will have a seminar on evangelism this November led by Jerram Barrs), etc. – but with the explicit end of being formed more and more into the image of Christ.

To help bring these theoretical ideas down to earth, let me talk about one of the classes we will be offering this fall – Loving Justice. Over the course of several weeks, we will discuss the definition of Biblical justice and address some specific issues like homelessness, trafficking, and racism. Certainly, we want those who take this class to learn about what Biblical justice is and how it pertains to the aforementioned issues but our goal is formation. We want participants to love justice more than when they began the class and thus pursue it in their everyday lives. Our goal is essentially to shape what we love. Because this is our goal, participants will not just talk about justice but will do it because actually practicing something has a way of reaching our hearts in a very profound way.

In the months to come, we will have more offerings for Christian Formation. If you’re wondering what specific classes, suffice it to say that offerings will focus on the following areas:

  • Cultivate knowledge of the Bible and theology
  • Cultivate use of Christian practices (like prayer, reading the Bible, fasting, etc.)
  • Cultivate Christian character

Our prayer is that through participating in Christian Formation all of us will live more and more faithfully in every area of life.

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